Slow Day: Some Thoughts on Ron Paul
I don’t have any extremely thoughtful analysis today, but I would like to spread some hope for those that like to see a little integrity now and again.
Last night on The Daily Show, Jon Stewart had on a Republican presidential nominee named Ron Paul. Paul had an excellent interview, but his views aside, it was his character I admired the most. Paul appears to be a guy who sticks to what he believes. He holds a strong non-interventionist view on foreign policy (which got him some heat in the last debate), and has a rock solid belief in letting the market decide most all economic outcomes, including things like social security and Medicare. Seeing someone stick to their beliefs calmly and rationally makes me smile, and it also gives me hope on the days when I try to write off the whole political system as superficial and corrupt.
That said, there is also a danger in holding on to one’s beliefs too tightly, especially if they turn out to be wrong. I personally disagree with several of Paul’s positions. For one, I think the most efficient outcome for social security probably lies within government instead of the private market, and for another, we should probably regulate a few industries in favor of a few key externalities… like clean air and water. However, his strength to hold his beliefs above outside pressure and act accordingly is very impressive, the best example of which is probably when he voted against the Iraq war just after the 9/11 attacks, during a time when the pressure to vote for it must have been absolutely massive.
There is a balance I suppose between being principled on the one hand and being flexible enough to adapt to many varied situations on the other. Paul has proven himself well fit for the former, but he may not have enough of the latter quality in order to be what I would call an effective as president. However, it’s too rare for us to see any of the former in politics, and for that, seeing Ron Paul run for president is a welcome change.
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